“He has completely recovered from his ankle injury. He has been training every day,” sources close to the developments said on Saturday.
There were reports earlier in the day that Pandya could be out of action for the next few months because of the injury, potentially ruling him out of IPL 2024 too.
The Mumbai Indians recently controversially appointed Pandya as their captain after trading him in from Gujarat Titans for Rs 15 crore in the trading window.
Hardik suffered the ankle injury during India’s 2023 ODI World Cup league match against Bangladesh in Pune in November and was then ruled out of the rest of the World Cup and the subsequent tour of South Africa. However, he should “definitely be fit for the IPL, and possibly the Afghanistan T20Is,” sources said.
“Hardik is fit and fine. In fact, he has been working out daily. All the talk about him going on to miss the IPL is just rumour. There are still almost four months left for IPL-2024, so anything, at this moment, is just speculation.”
Pandya recently posted two videos on Instagram, in one of which he can be seen working out in the gym, and in the second, playing with his son Agastya. BCCI sources too said, “He should be fit soon and will play in the IPL.”
Talking to the reporters at the Women’s Premier League auction here on December 9, BCCI secretary Jay Shah had said that Pandya could potentially return to international cricket during the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan at home.
“We are monitoring it (Pandya’s fitness) on a day-to-day basis. He is at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) only. He is working very hard and we will let you know in due course the moment he is fit. He could be fit before the Afghanistan series also,” Shah had said.
Suryakumar Yadav out of Afghanistan series
Meanwhile, Suryakumar Yadav is also set to miss the upcoming three-match T20I series against Afghanistan, starting on January 11, due to an ankle injury sustained during the final T20I of the recently-held series in South Africa.
“Suryakumar will take six to seven weeks to recover from his ankle injury. He’s suffering from a Grade 2 tear. He’s currently on a break and will report to the NCA in Bangalore next week,” a source said.
The 31-year-old twisted his ankle while fielding against South Africa in Johannesburg in the third and last T20I. Surya’s injury may trigger a captaincy crisis for the T20Is at home against Afghanistan.
With Surya and possibly Hardik unavailable, the selectors might need to ask Rohit Sharma to lead the side unless they appoint Ravindra Jadeja as a stand-in captain.
As it is, opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, who captained India in the Asian Games, too is injured with a broken finger and will be out for that series.